The term “streaming wars” wasn’t coined for nothing—the rush for eyes on streaming TV has spawned fierce competition from now-countless platforms. And with each U.S. household tuning in to an average of nearly five different streamers, per Kantar, with prices ranging as high as Netflix’s most-premium $20-per-month tier, TV bills are stacking up exponentially.
Enter FAST—free ad-supported streaming TV—which offers consumers a wide range of programming options without the financial burden. Here’s what advertisers need to know:
FAST is growing ... fast
A survey from Comcast Advertising, the results of which were released today in a report titled “Free Ad-Supported Streaming TV: Why More Advertisers (and Consumers) Are Going FAST,” found that free ad-supported streaming TV, or FAST, has doubled in household penetration within the past year. Six in 10 houses with a smart TV are now using FAST services, making it a fast grower in streaming advertising—a market that in total is expected to reach $30 billion in ad spend by 2024, according to eMarketer.
FAST vs. AVOD
As news of Netflix and Disney+’s ad-tier launches generates interest among marketers, it should be noted that ad-supported video on demand (AVOD) is different from FAST, which typically resembles the linear TV experience. Rather than supplying on-demand content, FAST platforms—such as Tubi, Pluto TV, Amazon’s Freevee or ones built into smart TVs like Vizio’s WatchFree+ and the Roku Channel—offer pre-programmed content that streams continuously without the necessity of picking what show to watch. Rather than tuning in to a traditional network channel like on cable, one might select a FAST channel themed for, say, true crime, holiday or sports programming.